In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States, this week's headline quotes Dr. King's “I Have a Dream” speech. His inspiration and vision continues to drive so much of our work for the future.
You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our futures. The Center's trend cards are also available to help you talk with colleagues and members of the community, map how trends fit together or how they fit into your community, or spark innovation activities.
As you scan through these articles, consider dropping me a line to let me know what you're reading this week to help prepare for the future.
The New York Times “The big tech trends to follow at CES 2018”
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), more of the focus will be on artificial intelligence and its component software, algorithms and sensors – powering devices like Amazon’s Alexa, smart car technologies, smart city solutions, smart home innovations, and more – instead of physical electronics or gadgets.
The Los Angeles Times “Retail workers' jobs are transforming as shoppers' habits change”
As the number of retail jobs continues to shrink, the roles and responsibilities of retail workers could expand, taking on specialized roles as private shoppers or in-home consultants for home theaters or kitchens – these new jobs could result in higher wages, but could also result in fewer entry-level jobs.
ReCode “Facebook is making a major change to the News Feed that will show you more content from friends and family and less from publishers”
Facebook announced changes to its News Feed that will show users more posts from their friends and family, fewer posts from publishers and brands, and could mean that people will spend less time using the service – the move is designed to encourage more comments and likes for the content users do see. See also Advertising Age, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, CNET, Digital Trends, The Drum and again, Engadget and again, Gizmodo, The Inquirer, Motherboard, The New York Times, Nieman Lab, ReCode, The Verge and again, and Wired.
Bloomberg “Apple plans more features for parents to control kids' phone use”
Responding to criticism from two shareholders about the potential mental health impact of the company’s iPhone on children, Apple said it plans new features to help parents control how children use its smartphones. See also Engadget, The New York Times, and Quartz.
Fast Company “NBC's Winter Olympics VR streams will work on almost any device”
NBC will present over 50 hours of virtual reality coverage of the Winter Olympic Games, creating 360-degree immersive environments of the opening and closing ceremonies, behind-the-scenes extras, packaged highlights, and events including ski jumping and snowboarding – content will be available on a wide range of devices and platforms.
Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Learning Machines
Business Insider “Toyota and Pizza Hut are teaming up to make self-driving cars that could deliver pizza”
Toyota will partner with Pizza Hut and other companies to test more efficient delivery through its e-Palette, an autonomous concept vehicle that could be used to deliver and possibly cook pizzas. See also The Drum, TechCrunch and again, TechSpot, The Verge, and Wired.
Wired “Facebook’s virtual assistant M is dead. So are chatbots”
Facebook will shutter its virtual assistant M, which it launched as an experiment in Facebook Messenger for 10,000 people in the San Francisco area – Facebook’s goal was to develop artificial-intelligence technology that could automate almost all of M’s tasks, but estimates say the program never surpassed 30% automation. See also Advertising Age, CNET, Digital Trends, Engadget, Fast Company, TechCrunch, and The Verge.
Economics and the Workplace
The Atlantic “Health care just became the U.S.'s largest employer”
In 2017, health care surpassed both manufacturing and retail in total number of workers, as Americans get older, other industries succumb to globalization and automation, and spending continues to grow in healthcare.
Harvard Business Review “How automation will change work, purpose, and meaning”
AI and automation will change the role of work in our lives, providing services and goods at ever-lower cost, driving humans to discover new roles, and pushing technology to distribute its productive benefits to a broader swath of society.
CNBC “Walmart to raise its starting wage to $11, give some employees bonuses following tax bill passage”
Walmart will increase its starting wage rate for hourly employees in the U.S. to $11, expand maternity and parental leave benefits, and pay a one-time cash bonus of as much as $1,000 to eligible employees – the move follows Target's move late last year to raise its minimum hourly wage to $11, with plans to pay out $15 by 2020. See also Bloomberg, Fast Company, and USA Today.
Business Insider “Fast-food CEO says 'it just makes sense' to consider replacing cashiers with machines as minimum wages rise”
Jack in the Box is the latest fast food restaurants to says that it is considering replacing some cashiers with robots, especially as the minimum wage rises in California – Jack in the Box had previously tested kiosks for customer orders. See also The Daily Dot.
TechCrunch “James Damore just filed a class action lawsuit against Google, saying it discriminates against white male conservatives”
James Damore, the former Google engineer who was fired in August after posting a memo to an internal Google message board arguing that women may not be equally represented in tech because they are biologically less capable of engineering, has filed a class action lawsuit against the company claiming that Google unfairly discriminates against white men whose political views are unpopular with its executives. See also ArsTechnica, CNET, Gizmodo, The Inquirer, The New York Times, TechSpot, and Wired.
Gizmodo “Ex-Google employee's memo says executives shut down pro-diversity discussions”
A former Google engineer says he left the company two years ago after managers pressured him to stop agitating for greater workplace diversity in internal company discussion forums, offering a striking counterpoint to allegations made by former Google employees James Damore and David Gudeman in a discrimination lawsuit filed against their former employer. See also ArsTechnica.
Pew Research Center “Women and men in STEM often at odds over workplace equity”
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 22% of working women in the U.S. say they have experienced sexual harassment at work, compared with 7% of working men – nearly half (48%) of female STEM workers and four-in-ten (42%) women in computer jobs consider workplace sexual harassment a problem. See also CNET, Motherboard, Pew Research Center, and ReCode.
The Associated Press “The Latest: NYC sues oil companies over climate change”
New York City is suing five major oil companies (BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell), seeking billions to recoup money spent by the city for resiliency efforts related to climate change – the lawsuit follows the city's announcement that it plans to divest its pension funds from fossil fuel companies. See also ArsTechnica, CityLab, Fast Company, and The Verge.
The New York Times “YouTube drops online star Logan Paul from premium advertising”
YouTube has dropped Logan Paul from its top advertising ranks and suspended production of a YouTube movie that he was supposed to appear in – the move demonstrates the platform’s efforts to deal with controversial content on what has become the main entertainment platform for younger audiences. See also Advertising Age, ArsTechnica, CNET and again, The Daily Dot and again and again, Digital Trends, The Drum, Engadget and again, Fast Company, Guardian, Mashable and again, Mic, TechCrunch, and The Verge and again.
News and Journalism
ReCode “Facebook is testing a new section of the app specifically for local news and events”
Facebook will test a new “Today In” section inside its app in six cities (New Orleans, La.; Little Rock, Ark.; Billings, Mont.; Peoria, Ill.; Olympia, Wash.; and Binghamton, N.Y.) – the feed will be made up entirely of local news, events, and announcements and is part of Facebook’s Journalism Project initiative, which Facebook launched shortly after last year’s U.S. presidential election. See also CNET, Digital Trends, Engadget, Mashable, TechCrunch, and TechSpot.
GeekWire “Google teases competitor to Amazon’s touchscreen Echo Show, coming later this year”
Google will bring its digital assistant to a variety of smart screen display products made by JBL, Lenovo, LG, and Sony, distinguishing itself from competitor Amazon, which has mostly invested in its own Alexa-powered touchscreen devices. See also Digital Trends.
Cheddar “EXCLUSIVE: Facebook dives into home device market with video chat product named ‘Portal’”
Facebook will reportedly release a video chat device named "Portal," placing it in direct competition with Amazon’s line of Echo voice-controlled devices even as it distinguishes the device as a way for families and friends to stay connected through video chatting and other social features. See also The Inquirer.